Moving to a new place can be daunting, exciting, and stressful all at the same time. For many people, the motivation to move is either to seek out new opportunities or to escape something in their current location.
Australia is seeing a significant influx of new residents, largely due to what’s being termed the “sea change” phenomenon. Many people are coming to Australia for a fresh start and for opportunity, and they are being drawn specifically to coastal towns.
Whether they are escaping something or seeking out new opportunities or both, many newcomers are choosing to settle in coastal towns because of the beauty of the beaches and ocean and relaxed lifestyle.
This trend has been picking up since around 2005, according to an article in The Sydney Morning Herald. Since then, more and more people have been moving from bigger cities like Sydney and Melbourne to smaller coastal towns.
Reasons people are leaving Australia’s big cities
People are leaving Australia’s biggest cities for a variety of reasons. Some people cite expensive housing as a factor in their decision to move to a smaller town or community.
A national survey conducted in May 2018 found that nearly two-thirds of respondents believed housing was unaffordable, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
The survey, which was conducted by the Royal Society of Victoria and the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, also found that nearly half of all respondents believed housing affordability had negatively impacted their quality of life.
“This issue is impacting people across all demographics — young and old, rich and poor — with almost half (48%) saying it has a significant impact on their quality of life,” the article states.
In general, people are finding it harder to save money due to the cost of living in Australia’s major cities. This is causing many people to move to smaller towns where the cost of living is lower.
Opportunities for career growth in small towns
Many people who move to small towns cite opportunities for career growth as one of the biggest draws.
In a lot of small towns, the local economy depends on tourism, agriculture, and other industries that don’t always offer a lot of opportunities for advancement.
However, in areas where there is sufficient demand for goods and services, moving to a small town can put you in position to advance in your career.
You may have to start at the bottom again, but you may also have more opportunities to move up than you would in a city with more widespread poverty and inequality.
In addition to the opportunity for growth within their fields, many people who move to small towns cite an increased sense of community as a major draw. Many of the new residents are drawn by the sense of community that already exists in the town.
What is the “Sea Change” phenomenon?
In Australia, the term “sea change” refers to a significant life change that draws people away from big cities and toward smaller towns. This includes people who move away from the country’s largest city, Sydney, to the surrounding towns.
Many who move to smaller towns do so for the lower cost of living and relaxed lifestyle. There is less pressure to succeed in business and life, and people find this appealing.
The most common reasons people move to smaller towns in Australia are family, lifestyle, and opportunity. Many find that there are better opportunities for employment in small towns than in big cities like Sydney.
More and more people are choosing to make the switch from the city to the countryside, The Guardian reports. As of 2016, there were almost 800 rural communities with a population of 2,000 or more.
Examples of famous Australians moving to the country
Some famous Australians have moved to the country to experience this “sea change” phenomenon.
Actress Nicole Kidman and singer Keith Urban both moved to Australia several years ago. They bought a property on the Pacific island of Vanuatu and spent their first year there as permanent residents.
Nicole Kidman has talked about how much she enjoys living in the country, and how it’s changed her life for the better. She told Vogue: “I love it here… I feel like I’m part of the world, but I have a really strong sense of community… It’s made me feel very connected and alive. It’s made me feel like I have a purpose.”
Other celebrities who have made the move include singer Kylie Minogue, actor Hugh Jackman, and TV host Lisa Wilkinson.
Benefits of living in a small town
After spending some time in the country, many people decide to stay. That’s how country towns keep their population – by attracting new people and encouraging them to settle down.
There are many benefits of living in a small town, and most people who move there say it was one of the best decisions they ever made. Here are a few of the perks that they mention:
A friendly community: People in small towns usually know each other, and they look out for each other. They may have different backgrounds or come from different countries, but they form a close bond.
Opportunities for employment: There are lots of jobs available in small towns, especially for professionals with advanced degrees. Many companies that are located in large cities have branch offices in small towns to recruit qualified employees at a cheaper price.
Lower living expenses: Because there is less competition for jobs and less demand for housing, prices are lower. This means that you can live comfortably while still saving money.
How to find the perfect small town in Australia
Finding the perfect small town in Australia is a matter of research. Many people begin their search by looking at Australia’s most popular small towns, those that are listed as such on tourism websites.
These places are attractive because they offer amenities like shops, restaurants, and accommodations, making them ideal starting points for exploring the surrounding area.
Others search for hidden gems by looking at climate and soil conditions, then talking to people who live there about why they chose to start their lives there.
Yet another way is to find places with low unemployment rates and high workforce participation rates, assuming that if people are willing to move there then it must be nice.
Anyone who is thinking of moving to Australia should definitely look into moving to the country by region instead of simply going to the biggest city there.
Who should consider moving to the country?
Anyone who is feeling the urge to make a change or move should consider moving to the country. It does not have to be permanent, you can visit for a week or a month to see if it is for you.
Anyone who lives in a city and spends lots of money on transportation should consider the country as well. You could buy a house in the country for what you pay in rent in the city and have more space and freedom.
People who are drawn to the beauty of the country and want to experience that beauty firsthand should definitely come and visit. You will find that there is plenty of places to stay, work, and play.
Is it easy to make the move?
A few years ago, a couple moved to Australia from the United States and opened a bar in Brisbane. They had met several years before while studying in Spain, and he was from the U.S. She was Australian, but they met while he was studying abroad.
The two had traveled widely before settling down in Australia, and they said that moving there made it easier to go back and forth to visit family and friends in other countries.
They also said that people who move to Australia from abroad tend to stay for at least a few years, so you aren’t just leaving your country but also your new Australian “family” when you return home. Is that kind of acceptance and openness is what draws people back to smaller towns or makes them stay in Australia permanently.